Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Yorkers and Their Dogs

New Yorkers are no different from other city dwellers when it comes to loving their pets, but I guess because there are so many die-hard pet fanciers here you notice it more. And the thing that I'm noticing much more than in the the past is how many people are taking their pets, almost always dogs, into public institutions with the claim that they provide psychological comfort they cannot get any other way. For the most part, this is an innocuous trend. It really doesn't affect me much until people begin to let their dogs sniff through the pineapples, which I haven't witnessed yet myself. Still, you can't help wondering a bit about folks who cannot let their dogs out of their signt even for a visit to the corner drug store. What, if anything, does this development say about our collective emotional state?

One thing it may suggest is that we are not as tolerant as we once were of the unfamiliar, the strange, and the new. That the need to cling to something that is always there for us and completely reliable is a symptom of a society that fears its healthcare may be yanked away at any moment or that a retirement account can be reduced to a shambles in a matter of months. Of course, the traditional resort of people who fear the unpredictability of everyday life has often been organized religion, which in this country, at least, continues to have many adherents. But the turn to something as simple and tangible as a dog may also be a sign that we need our reassurance in the here and now, as present and nuzzleable as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Or perhaps this is just the manifestation of growing number of dyslexics in our city dwelling population who truly worship Dog.